Other People's Money
We see in today's Daily Bulletin an article by reporter Canan Tasci relating that the Cal Poly Pomona Board of Trustees will shortly consider a proposal to demolish Cal Poly's iconic CLA Building (Classroom, Laboratory, and Administration), housing student services and administrative offices and, we assume, classrooms and labs.
This is not a case of the university knocking down some old, dilapidated out-building remnant of Kellogg Ranch, this is a 200,000 square foot building built in 1993--it's only 17 years old! Plus, it has become a symbol of Cal Poly. Hence the term "iconic". By the way, 200,000 square feet is about 5 acres. The tower is 173 feet high. This is a huge building complex.
We can scarcely think of a better example of the phenomenon of OPM--Other People's Money. When public agencies are paying for things with OPM--which is all they really ever do--they just don't care.
Build a monumental building in 1993 that leaks and doesn't meet program needs? Sure, it's OPM.
Plan on tearing down the same building scarcely 20 years later and replacing it with a new $80 million dollar one? Sure, it's OPM.
All the while, be careful to shroud the issue in student safety (earthquakes in this case), energy efficiency, and LEED-sustainability-greenness. And don't worry, somebody else is paying for it-- "Funds would be allocated from the Chancellor's Office utilizing state construction bonds." In other words, OPM.
Come to think of it, this sounds a lot like the proponents of the $95 million Measure CL:
So what if we only built about half of what we said we'd build with Measure Y money? OPM.
Repair or replace leaky and faulty roofs. OPM.
Improve student and school safety, including fire alarms and replacing old wiring. OPM.
Install solar panels...other energy-efficiency improvements...environmentally sustainable... OPM.
Remove hazardous materials...lead...asbestos. OPM.
Maybe we all ought to go out and get some OPM of our own.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Other People's Money